Photo via @NASA on Twitter
Photo via @NASA on Twitter

Surya Grahan (solar eclipse), the last major celestial event of 2020 that the world is waiting for before the end of the year, is set to take place on December 14 (Monday).

It is also the only 'total solar eclipse' of the year, so in many ways is the occasion set to be special for skywatchers and general enthusiasts alike. Usually there are two solar eclipses in a year, with the maximum being in 1935, slated to repeat in 2206.

Here's everything you need to know about the Surya Grahan (solar eclipse) on December 14.

What is a 'total solar eclipse'?

A solar eclipse occurs on a new moon day when it comes in between the earth and the sun and all the three objects are aligned.

When any portion of the Earth is engulfed in a shadow cast by the Moon, which fully or partially blocks sunlight, the event is called a solar eclipse. However, the celestial event is referred to as a 'total solar eclipse' when the Sun's disk is fully obscured by the Moon.

Along with this, in the case of a total solar eclipse -- large, bright, gaseous features extending outward from the Sun's surface, known as solar prominences, can be seen along the limb of the eclipse, as seen in this picture:

A photo of the 1999 Solar Eclipse in France
A photo of the 1999 Solar Eclipse in France
Luc Viatour / https://Lucnix.be

Through the solar prominences, skywatchers can get a glimpse of the sun's atmosphere -- known as its 'corona', a highly-anticipated sight for the enthusiasts this year.

Time

The Grahan (eclipse) will begin on December 14 at 7:03 PM (IST) and continue till 12:23 AM on December 15. However, the peak time is expected to be 9:43 PM on Monday.

Where will it be visible?

The Surya Grahan (solar eclipse) this year, however, will not be visible in India as it will occur in the late evening.

The last Solar Eclipse or Surya Grahan of 2020 will be visible over parts of South America, specifically in parts of Chile and Argentina where it will track over in the afternoon. According to NASA, the path will stretch from Saavedra, Chile to Salina del Eje, Argentina.

Photo: NASA
Photo: NASA

How to watch

However, at the behest of enthusiasts all over the world, NASA will live-stream the event for people to watch the Solar Eclipse from anywhere in the world. A live link will be provided so that amateur astronauts and eager skywatchers can catch the event from anywhere in the world.

NASA will be posting images of the eclipse on NASA TV and on the agency's website starting at 8:10 PM IST on Monday, courtesy of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

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